SHE may look cute, but Smooch is a ferocious little devil. Born amid the ashes of Black Saturday, her existence is a small but significant victory in the desperate fight to save the Tasmanian devil.
The feisty six-month-old is one of 28 disease-free joeys born in Healesville Sanctuary's new devil breeding centre in the aftermath of February's bushfires.
Amazingly, all nine of the centre's wild-caught females became pregnant soon after being evacuated to Melbourne Zoo as embers rained down.
''We were very concerned that evacuating them would disrupt the breeding cycle because it's extremely stressful and traditionally devils have a really low breeding success rate,'' senior keeper Tiffany Eastley said.
''But they didn't seem to mind at all. Usually they have only a 30 per cent reproduction rate in captivity, so to have a 100 per cent reproduction rate is amazing..."
I can't be the only one getting Midwich Cuckoo vibes. They're telepathic-psycho-kinetic-hivemind furballs, and they will be the ruin of us all.